Two pending Kane County ordinances target loud music, random gunfire

 
 
Updated 10/14/2022 12:43 PM

Kane County officials moved toward a crackdown on the use of firearms and loud music in unincorporated areas this week.

The county's development department and sheriff's office have struggled over the years with people using firearms near residential areas or blaring loud music at late hours that disrupt neighbors in unincorporated areas. A pair of pending ordinances would create a new enforcement mechanism to impose fines of as much as $750 on repeat offenders.

 

The changes would list the discharge of a firearm as a specific nuisance in the county code. Right now, the only rules the sheriff's deputies could use to address those situations are felony unlawful use of a firearm or an ordinance about loud noises that may or may not apply to firearm use.

The problem there is the difficulty of determining whether or not the use of a firearm was reckless or caused some level of undo noise. The new noise ordinance would make just the discharge of a firearm a nuisance in unincorporated areas.

The new restriction would not apply to target, trap or skeet shooting as long as the activity occurred in a shooting sports facility, veterans' organization, certain not-for-profits or a licensed business with a shooting range. It also would not apply to lawful hunting, the lawful defense of persons or property or the discharge of blank cartridges at sporting events, theatrical performances or military funerals and memorials.

"I like all the nuances here," said Sheriff Ron Hain of the pending ordinance. "This considers all sides and considered the growth of Kane County. We can't be shooting randomly in neighborhoods anymore and areas that used to be farmland."

The second pending ordinance addresses events with amplified music. County staff said the rules are meant to address the growing number of farms with barns renovated into music and wedding venues. The change would restrict the time bands and other loud music could be played in such venues, without a special event permit or permitted zoning, to between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. for residential areas. Nonresidential areas would have cutoff times of 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and midnight on Friday, Saturday and days preceding a holiday.

The county board's judicial and public safety committee voted Thursday to advance the ordinances. The full county board must vote on them before they are adopted.

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